Paul Krugman Strikes Back At Liberals Who Attack ‘Obamacare’

Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 08:44 pm

One notices that it is becoming standard operating procedure for any opinion writer to note that they are not corrupt, not criminals, not Koch brother subversives, or paid Wall Street operatives every single time they write about Senator Bernie Sanders; unless they genuflect and while praising him as a messiah. Yesterday, Nobel Laureate, noted liberal economist, and New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman stopped short of issuing what is becoming a standard disclaimer that he is not a corrupt Wall Street activist, but he did spend his 800 words hitting back at Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) critics; particularly those on the extreme left.

Krugman took a fair amount of heat a week or so ago when he first defended “Obamacare” and explained, as an acclaimed economist, why scrapping the President’s signature healthcare reform law for an already dead attempt at Medicare-for-all socialized healthcare. Krugman, like most liberals understands that single payer is one means of insuring most Americans, but he is also realistic enough to comprehend that in this, and the foreseeable future, political environment socialized medicine will not reach fruition.

What bothered Krugman, besides “Obamacare” not receiving adequate funding, is that besides single payer’s dead-before arrival chances, a fair amount of criticism is coming from the left. In fact, Krugman is puzzled why Senator Sanders is proposing “re-litigating a hard-fought Democratic healthcare reform law for single-payer as a centerpiece of his campaign.” Krugman rightly says that this fantasy has led “to attacks on ‘Obamacare’ from wrong-headed liberals.” Wrong-headed may be too strong a word for sensitive emoprogs; politically ignorant and angry may be a more apt adjective.

To get more stories like this, subscribe to our newsletter The Daily.

Krugman did give the single payer proposal “a fair hearing” and noted that due to insufficient funding the ACA still leaves Americans uninsured. He also said that after a monumental battle, the biggest challenge for America is to address covering more Americans in a “political feasible way” that also continues bringing down healthcare costs; costs that he claims are being controlled much better “than even reform advocates ever expected.” Even Krugman “hoping” for more funding for “Obamacare” is likely “wrong-headed” as long as Republicans control the House, but he does acknowledge it may take many years before Republicans agree to provide more funding for a healthcare system; any healthcare system.

Krugman makes it clear that scrapping “Obamacare” and going to a single-payer is a pipe dream and asserts that the people on the left joining Koch Republicans condemning the ACA are Senator Sanders’ supporters. He wrote,

A lot of what I hear from the left is not so much a complaint about how the reform falls short as outrage that private insurers get to play any role. The idea seems to be that any role for the profit motive taints the whole effort. The point is to help the uninsured, not to punish or demonize insurance companies.”

It is worth reminding Americans that if private insurance companies were not part of “Obamacare,” like they are part of Medicare and Medicaid, there would be no healthcare reform whatsoever. In fact, what seems lost on the “EmoProg” movement is that even with private insurance company involvement in “Obamacare,” Medicare, and Medicaid, Republicans have spent the past nearly six years doing everything in their considerable power to get rid of not only Obamacare, but Medicare as well. One is just baffled beyond comprehension why anyone in America would think for a second that any Republican will ever support raising trillions in taxes to fund a “Medicare for all” system; arguably a government socialized system when they want any healthcare system eviscerated.

Krugman ended his screed with a valid complaint about the manner in which anyone defending the current system is “demonized” by Sanders supporters. He wrote,

One unpleasant, ugly side of this debate has been the tendency of some Sanders supporters, and sometimes the campaign itself, to suggest that anyone raising questions about the senator’s proposals must be a corrupt tool of vested interests.”

As a campaign ploy, Krugman joins many Democrats in fearing that it is precisely the “kind of tactic that will do harm in the general election and divide people who are essentially on the same side.” And, Krugman fears, may quite possibly harm the long-term prospects of preserving what he considers “the single greatest achievement in social policy in decades.”

This divisive ploy, and it is a ploy conservatives are aiding and abetting, is, like it or not, being promoted by the Sanders’ campaign just as Krugman intimates. Don’t believe it? When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said raising taxes on the middle class to fund a single payer was not going to happen, Senator Sanders responded that anyone who does not embrace his “politically inviable plan” is “disingenuous.”

Disingenuous means insincere and deceitful; typically by pretending to know less about something than one really does. Obviously, Nancy Pelosi was not being deceitful or pretending to know less than she really does; especially about the political environment she fought to enact a fifty year Democratic goal. For dog’s sake even though Pelosi has wanted a single payer for thirty years, she was instrumental in helping push healthcare reform through considerable Republican and conservative Democrat opposition in the House in 2010. And, she knows that Americans, particularly Republicans, are not about to support massive tax hikes for socialized, government-provided, healthcare. But even that is not the point.

It is looking more and more like, according to Senator Sanders, not embracing “his plan” makes the likes of Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, Nancy Pelosi, House and Senate Democrats, myriad liberal websites and political experts all very insincere and deceitful Americans. That list also includes any American who has been conscious over the past three decades and aware that no Republican,  and most Democrats, will not impose massive tax hikes on the rich and middle class to pay for socialized medicine; at least not in this decade or political landscape.

Being aware of that reality, and daring to vocalize it within earshot of a Sanders’ supporter, does not make one deceitful, or a paid shill of the Kochs, Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Wall Street. What it makes them is pragmatists who have sat and watched Republicans do everything in their power to wipe out Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, and now they are watching disgruntled ‘liberals’ join Republicans in criticizing and hoping to scrap something Krugman rightly called “the single greatest achievement in social policy in decades.”

Copyright PoliticusUSA LLC 2008-2023